Zambia team returns home after Cup win
Published : Feb 14, 2012 - 20:41
Updated : Feb 14, 2012 - 20:41
LUSAKA, Zambia (AP) ― With an escort of jet fighters screaming above and tens of thousands of screaming fans on the ground, Zambia’s victorious soccer team flew home Monday to a hero’s welcome.

The Copper Bullets, or Chipolopolo as the national team is called, descended from the plane to meet ecstatic fans and show off the African Cup of Nations trophy that has eluded the southern African nation for more than 30 years.

“Go Zambia, go!” the crowd roared.

The players were driven off on the backs of army trucks, on roads packed with cheering Zambians, to the showgrounds where speeches and a concert are planned.

Zambia beat favorites Ivory Coast 8-7 on penalties in a nerve-racking upset Sunday at the African Cup finals in Libreville, Gabon.

Many attributed the victory to an amazing team spirit from a crew that fielded only one international player.

Zambia were the underrated underdogs at the African tournament, much like their country, which boasts a thriving democracy, a less-traveled destination for African wildlife and the spectacular Victoria Falls ― along with a booming copper industry that recently catapulted the country to the status of lower middle-income.
Zambian national team players and coaches celebrate with the African Cup during a parade in Lusaka, Zambia, Monday. (AP-Yonhap News)

First off the plane Monday was Vice President Guy Scott, believed to be the highest-ranking white man in Africa and a sign that Zambia has put behind its colonial past.

Last off was team captain Christopher Katongo, standing between Zambian football association president Kalusha Bwalya and the team’s French coach Herve Renard.

Tevez plans Man City return

BUENOS AIRES (AP) ― Carlos Tevez says he was ordered around “like a dog” by Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini, but the forward claims he is ready to return and play for the club again.

“I hope I can help City be champions,” Tevez said in an interview with Fox Sports in Argentina on Monday before his planned return to England.

Tevez has spent nearly three months on unauthorized leave in his native Argentina, continuing a long-running feud with the Premier League leaders that intensified in September when he refused to warm up in a Champions League match at Bayern Munich.

Tevez said Mancini and the club failed to tell the truth about what happened.

He said he was willing to play against Bayern but was upset at Mancini’s tone of voice when he asked him to warm up in the second half. According to Tevez, Mancini was at the time embroiled in an argument with Bosnian forward Edin Dzeko.

“He ordered me like a dog to warm up,” Tevez said. “The club never told the truth publicly about what really happened and that’s why I was angry.”

His anger prompted him “to grab my things and come (to Argentina) without telling the club. I was upset by the situation and needed to be with my family.”

But after failing to leave City during the January transfer window, Tevez wants to settle his differences with the club.

“I’ve decided to return for personal reasons and turn around the situation and win over the fans,” he said.

“They turned on me after what happened with Bayern because they were poorly informed.”

Stadium workers on strike

SAO PAULO (AP) ― Workers building a World Cup stadium in northeastern Brazil have gone on strike to demand payment of delayed salaries.

The union representing the workers said about 500 men stopped working in the host city of Fortaleza on Monday.

The consortium of construction companies building the stadium told local media they are already negotiating with the workers to try to end the strike.

Four other host cities have been affected by workers’ strikes in the past, including Rio de Janeiro, home of the competition’s final at Maracana.

Unions have said recently they are trying to centralize efforts and have threatened a work stoppage in all 12 host cities to demand unified salaries and benefits.